Welcome back and I hope you have read and enjoyed my post Mets Top 3 Off-Season Free Agent Targets from last week. As promised, here is my follow-up with 3 players who have been rumored to be available and would benefit the Mets. Again, I feel I have identified players that have a realistic shot of actually being dealt and not just throw out names like Stanton, Tulo and Cargo, who, unfortunately, the Mets have no shot of acquiring, whether due to contract price or amount it would cost in players, or both.
Let’s start off with the biggest would be acquisition that, while pricey, is available and seems to be a great fit in Queens, Todd Frazier. He is a local kid, who is still affordable for the next two seasons. The Reds have gone into a full rebuild and it makes tons of sense to move him now. While it is unclear what he would cost, I imagine, similarly to Jay Bruce which was in the works last summer, the package would start with Zack Wheeler and go from there. Frazier is a fit for the Mets for many reasons, aside from the aforementioned local ties to the New Jersey area. He is a gold glove caliber third baseman who brings the power from the right side. With the questions surrounding Wright’s back couple with Frazier’s ability to play multiple positions (1B, 3B, LF) he is a logical fit and at only 29 (30 just a but before opening day 2016). In 5 big league seasons, all with Cincinnati, Frazier’s 162 game average is .257, 32 doubles, 28 homers and 11 steals. Not to mention he was an all-star the last two seasons and is a fan favorite in and around Cincinnati.
Next up is a bit trickier. While there are often fits to make a deal happen, for whatever reason, they just don’t. The Yankees and Mets have made very few deals since the Mets existence, but a better fit could not be found in baseball for a left handed hitting center fielder with speed. That’s right, Brett Gardner, who is seemingly now available thanks to the addition of Aaron Hicks, would be perfect for spacious Citi Field. We have been on the other side of his speed and defense too many times and if he truly is available it just makes too much sense. That being said, I would not trade Wheeler to obtain him. He comes with a descent salary, age, and an extensive injury history. But if the Yankees truly want to move him, I don’t see why a deal can’t start around Montero and Niese and go from there. I don’t know if the Yankees have realistic expectations on the type of pitcher they want in return (as they have stated they need a starting pitcher in return), but Niese is team controllable, relatively consistent, and a lefty which bodes well for the bandbox in the Bronx. He may not have the name or celebrity that usually befits the Yankees deals, but with their lack of pithing depth, Niese and Montero get them back in the right direction. Throw in another lower level prospect and we may have something here. If the Yankees give on their pitching demands, Plawecki, Cecchini, Herrera could all be in play along with a pitching prospect or even a Niese or Montero. There are too many moving pieces and it is too early to truly have a feel on things, but I feel there are enough pieces here to make a deal work between these two New York rivals, assuming Alderson is allowed to take on Gardner’s salary and the Yankees truly want to deal him.
The last piece, and cheapest of the three I am looking at is Erick Aybar, who was just acquired by the Braves. The Braves have been rumored to be in complete rebuild mode and willing to move anyone in the right deal, including Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran. Aybar should be attainable for not much more then a prospect or two. The Braves did not center their Simmons deal around obtaining Aybar and he is an easy candidate to be flipped to continue to strengthen the Braves farm system. While it feels like Aybar has been around forever in Anaheim, he is still just 31, a professional top of the order hitter and brings a solid, stable, glove to the short stop position. He is a career .276 hitter with gap power and above average speed, with nearly 20 steals per season in his career. He gets on base at a .315 clip and is due just $8.5 million in the final year of his contract, with the Angels covering $2.5 million of that. With the Braves in complete rebuild mode, I have no idea what it would take to pry him free, but the Mets should say choose anyone aside from the top 5 pitchers, Rosario, Nimmo, Smith and Cecchini and go from there.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below and chime in on who you think the Mets should prioritize this off-season, and don’t forget to check out my post on who the Mets should target in Free Agency here.